Monday, October 31, 2016

Rough Weekend

It was a rough weekend here. I have come to the realization that taking care of my mom is going beyond my comfort zone. Way beyond and not somewhere that I feel I can stretch to. She has had some sudden onset dementia which made us think UTI because that is what she normally does. It is terrible. She doesn't understand why her legs don;t work. She is way in the past and thinks she should be able to walk. She wants me to get her out of bed and help her walk. She is very distraught about her inability to walk. She has never been this way about her walking. She gave up on the walking. Then she cries and cries and wonders why her mom hasn't picked her up yet. Asks me to take her home to her mom. As painful as all that is to watch it isn't unexpected. It is so hard to watch your mom cry for her mom.

Saturday I had some painting parties as usual. Normally I take care of and feed her between however I was never able to get her to wake up. By the evening I was getting worried about dehydration. I was constantly checking on her. I hand fed her some boost which she finally accepted in the evening. Whenever I changed her she cried and complained she was cold. She doesn't like to be changed or moved around at all. She constantly fires her caregiver for taking care of her. Sunday morning I thought that we were going to have a second day of sleeping all day. However, in the afternoon she woke up and started eating and drinking again.

Saturday I thought the worse, that she was choosing to die. Sunday she was eating like she was starving (which I guess she was since she only had boost the day before). I expect that we will see more and more of these episodes. Folks, this is tearing me up. I just can't handle it anymore. I talked to her caregiver Charlotte and told her that I will look at putting her in a nursing home before we go in a cruise. I don't think that she would do well with going on respite and then home. Taking care of  her has just gotten to be too hard on many different levels. Her caregiver admitted that it was becoming a struggle her her a well since my mom cries every time she handles her. Making a timed move will actually be better for Charlotte as she will know what her job here will be finished.

I talked to the older four. Larissa cried. The other kids didn't seem to care. Of the kids, I think that it will be hardest on Benjamin. He has a very close relationship with my mom. He also has a close relationship with Charlotte. For him it will be like losing two people in his life. Charlotte will continue to be in our lives but not on a daily basis.It will be hard for me as well. I know my mom will not be happy. She does not participate in the activities that nursing homes offer. She was miserable in the one in Texas. They had her seeing a therapist because she was so miserable. The therapist was happy that I was taking her home. Knowing that I am putting her back in that situation is hard. I just expect it to be difficult on many different levels but it is time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Moving Forward

Well, we get to cancel our fingerprinting appointments. They will be updating our homestudy versus making us start all over. What a relief, I was sure that folks would think we were crazy if I asked for another letter of reference. Updating means some paperwork, fire inspection training hours. The training hours might be what slows us down. Once we realized that we were adopting our last child we slowed down on them, didn't figure we would need them in the future. In South Carolina you need 14 hours of training a year, 8 of those hours can be online. Our relicensing social worker will be coming over on Friday.


Yesterday I had someone tell me that if your license had ended less than a year go that you could simply renew it, not start all over. I called our social worker who was coming out later in the day to ask her. We adopted Benjamin last November and our house was officially closed in December. She didn't know. She said that she would get with her supervisor to find out and give me a call. She called me back and said that she was going to cancel our visit and check with our local county to see if they could do an update on our homestudy. She said that someone would get with me today. Well, surprise no one got with us today. We are scheduled for fingerprinting on Friday and if we don't need to go it would be nice to know.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


When we started fostering in South Carolina many years ago the number of minor children allowed in the home was 5. I was told that at one time it was 6 but a child died in a home with 6 children so the number was lowered to 5. We stopped fostering because we were at the maximum allowed number of minor children.

A few weeks ago I ran into a social worker at our local sno cone place. She asked us to start fostering again. I said we couldn't, she told me that the number of children allowed had changed. It changed to 8! Last week I ran into a foster parent, she asked us to come back, she said that the need was so great. Then we suddenly were drawn back into the DSS circle in other ways.

Last Tuesday I found myself asking my husband how he would feel about getting back into faster care. Surprisingly, he said yes. I made a call to Heartfelt Calling and within minutes was signed up for fingerprinting and classes. We have to start all over again. Looking for letters of references, physicals, paperwork, training, fingerprinting, inspections. Whew, so much.

Wednesday I missed a call from Columbia DSS. We played phone tag for a few days and now are set for our first social worker visit on Monday. At this time we are scheduled for fingerprinting on Friday, training on November 12 and 19th, first social worker visit on Monday. We have filled out our financial paperwork and are looking for our old biographies to see if we can update them.

When we left foster care it was not unusual for the process to take a year. It was a huge problem. Now they have regionalized things and it is supposed to go quicker, we were told 120 days. That is good, it takes us past Christmas, our cruise and pretty close to Benjamin's third birthday.

We are putting our maximum number of kids at 2 (sibling group) and our maximum age will be 8. We know that they will call us for all ages. However, with our group of 10-13 year olds we don't need to have more kids that age in the pack! We also don't want to do older because you don't know what behaviors a teenager will have and we have some very impressionable kids. So I am working on no, no, not in our age range.

We feel that we can manage that. I do worry how it will impact my business a bit but time will tell.

I have to say that the number 8 does worry me. I know that the state raised the number of kids allowed because of the shortage of foster homes and the pressure to stop putting kids into hotels. However, 8 can be a lot for some people especially if they take in more than one sibling group. I see a recipe for disaster. I looked at other states and there were a few that allowed 8 or 9, most were a 5 or 6. Any fosters out there? How many does your state allow?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Crazy Life

Our life has been crazy here. Drama and more drama that I can't share because it isn't my story although I am involved/concerned because I am mom. I have a hard time writing when I am trying to keep my mouth shut in one area!

In other areas the main objective is to purge!

Emma and Michelle struggle with their mess. In their desks I found a little bit of everything. I found shoes , clothing, toys and trash stuffed everywhere. In suitcases, boxes under the bed, desks and every corner. We had purchased a bunk bed fro their bedroom so that they could both have room for desks. They broke the ladder to the bed. I also found an expensive doll of Emma's with a broken leg (no way to fix it), Disney hair pieces in shreds, books ruined, and items that I am not sure what they go to. I decided that the desks had to go so we could unbunk the bed. Emma didn't care but Michelle had a major fit over it. A major disrespectful fit at that. She lost out on a movie over her words.

Too much, they simply have too much. It is too much for them to manage. It has been majorly purged. They don't like to throw anything away, to include their trash. Sometimes I wonder if that is a result of all their moves and losing everything over and over. They don't want to get rid of anything but they also don't take care of anything. Larissa is their same age and she organizes her stuff. All her Shopkins are grouped together, books together, dolls displayed. She get messy too but when I have her go clean she organizes it in some way while Emma and Michelle stuff it everywhere. This is part of the challenge of having either of them share a room with her, their "cleaning" style does not go well with hers. I have gone into their rooms and worked with them on numerous occasions. It quickly turns to chaos. Perhaps there is no connection with their moves, maybe it is genetic. Anyone with kids who had many placements read this blog? Are your kids disorganized hoarders?

I don't have an after picture, I will try to get one.

Our family has a terrible weakness, Mexican food. We love it and eat out too often.

Benjamin has been asking to paint so I took him to the studio to do so. I hope he turns out to be a lefty, I am the only one in the family.

He loves blue, trying to turn into a blue smurf (the paint is not harmful)

Larissa was waiting for dance class to begin and I took some pictures of her in secret. 
I love to watch her dance.

We keep Vaida Wednesday night and Thursday day while Tasha is in class. 
Yes, lunch at the Mexican restaurant.

I am not sure if he is shocked or impressed by Vaida's eating abilities. 
But it was cheese dip, it had to all be eaten.

He has allergies and the fall is the worse time. I thought for sure he had an ear infection. I was wrong, apparently the lavender oil is working.

We are very busy at the studio, I am loving the fall colors. 

We expanded the play area and the kids love it. It allows for parents and more serious painters to paint. We try to do as many family painting opportunities as possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Catching Up

We didn't have any damage at our house from the hurricane. We didn't even lose power. However, many of our neighbors lost power for a few days. We had a friend for church come over and eat a hot meal. She is living in a hotel at this time and didn't have power. She lives with her husband in a hotel while they save up to rent an apartment. They both work full-time. Yes, there are people here in America who work hard and can't afford to rent a place. Sad and frustrating.

Although we had power at our home, I didn't have power at my shop. I had a birthday party scheduled for Saturday that was moved to Sunday. I typically don't do Sunday parties but this was weather related. Once I realized that I still didn't have power Sunday morning I called the parent and we discussed the situation. We went ahead with the party since it was a bright beautiful day and the lighting in the shop is great. We did have to supply a flashlight for the bathroom. Let me tell you, birthday parties are critical....they must go on!

I am enjoying doing these painting parties. I ask what the kid wants to paint and I do a custom painting for their party. The most interesting request so far has been a panda with a galaxy background.

Sarah is home for a few days for fall break while John is about to be gone for a few days doing his disaster relief operations. He will be home nights since this is a local disaster.

I have been having crazy thoughts lately of taking some classes so there might be a change coming to our household. Not sure yet, feeling compelled and torn. I will talk more on that tomorrow after I do a little more research.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Unstoppable Weather

The morning started off with sporatic drizzling. The type of drizzle that is annoying; your windshield wiper is either too fast or too slow, never just right. As the day progressed the sporatic rain got harder and harder. It is now after midnight and it is raining pretty steady. We have been told that the worse rain and wind will come around 2 am. I will be in bed by then.

We are far enough from the coast that we don't get the brunt of the wind or storm surge. Last year at this time we had an unusual tunnel of rain that caused massive flooding. Our state still hasn't fully recovered from that. Thankfully, they aren't expecting that type of a situation this time around. By Sunday we expect to have beautiful weather once more.

Any of my readers impacted by this hurricane? If so, I hope that you are staying safe.

To others, what weather issues impact your lives?

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I have carved out time to do some new paintings. I will be putting my fox in my Etsy shop, whenever I get that going! I have given myself a timeframe of October 15th. Lets see if I get it going!

I decided to offer a fall painting so this will be painted at our studio later this month.

We try to open for childrens paintings so will be painting this cat this Saturday (unless a hurricane hits). It is fun with glow in the dark paint in the eyes and moon.

We also will have a wine painting class, painting pumpkins.

We took off for the orthodontist which requires donuts along the way.

It was determined that Larissa needed braces....that very day. They have been following her for almost 2 years (she goes in every 6 months). She has teeth that are trying to come in the roof of her mouth. She has challenges because of the underdevelopment of her mid-face. He is hoping to avoid surgery with braces. 

We have quite a bit of  weather heading our way. Highways have lanes being reversed so that the coast can be evacuated. Schools have been closed so that people who are evacuated have a place to stay. Yesterday the weather was gray and dreary, today it is bright sunshine filled blue skies. It is possible for rain to start tomorrow. It was a year ago that this area in SC had major flooding. Some areas still haven't recovered from the flooding. The bridge past our house is still under construction. Hopefully we will just get some rain and light winds. 

Any of my readers evacuated because of the hurricane?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I have started this post several times and can't seem to get it done. I also can't seem to write anything else until I write this! I hesitate because I feel as though all I do is complain about being a caregiver and I don't want to come across that way.


I am weary. I am unsure of what to do. Folks, I hate to say this but I am weary of taking care of my mom. A few years after taking care of her I simply thought that I would take care of her until she passed away. I assumed that she would stay home until then. However, I am weary.

It is getting harder. She doesn't want us moving her, changing her. She wants left alone.....and fed good food.

Her legs are losing all muscle tome and pulling up. We ensure that we put something between her feet so that she doesn't get sores. She came home from the hospital with a sore on her back. We have cleared that up and she currently has no bedsores. That is hard considering she is in bed 24/7.

She is starting to complain about pain in her legs so we need to look at pain management. To get her to the doctor we have to coordinate an ambulance ride. We are working on that now. I wonder what they will do for pain management. I know that I can't handle pain meds, Tylenol with codeine makes me so sick that it is worse than the pain. Hospice would make it easier but then she would lose Charlotte and I would lose some caregiving hours.

About two years ago I made reservations for a cruise this December. At the time we really thought that my mom would no longer be with us so we invited her caregiver. Well, my mom is very much with us so we have to use the respite care that they provide in this state. That means that my mom will go to a nursing home while we are away. I worry about that. I could possibly find someone to watch her in the home but it would be a stranger, staying in my home all week and taking care of my mom. I am not comfortable with that, I don't know how they would treat her. I am not comfortable with the nursing home option either although lately I have been thinking that perhaps that would be the time to transition her to a nursing home.

Some days I am weary and think that it is time for a nursing home, other days I feel guilty for thinking that. My brothers, husband, everyone say do whatever I want. I would love to share this decision with someone! It is all on my shoulders. I fear the nursing home, bed sores, someone handling my mom rough, making her cry. How do I explain to Benjamin that I got weary of taking care of grandma as we visit her at a nursing home. I imagine that she wouldn't last long at a nursing home.

Why do these decisions have to be so hard?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ugh, Snacks

Another school year and another round of daily snacks for kids. After an expensive trip to Sam's and many snacks devoured I am changing up the system. I think that we have kids getting into the junk food when they shouldn't. We have one child who is struggling with portion sizes and weight gains. After going through literally cases of snacks in a week I have pulled all snacks from the pantry.

I divided out some junk snacks for the kids and each kid has their own snack container. I control these since some kids have been complaining that they  are not able to get some snacks as they were all eaten up. I told the kids that this was a weeks worth of junk snacks. Yes, we allow candy in moderation, cookies, chips and such. There are fruit snacks in there as well. The kids are taking snacks to school and then having a snack when they get home. There is enough in that container for one snack a day for the next week. I am not controlling how much or when they eat their snack stash. I am only controlling the containers to ensure that each child only gets into their own stash.

To supplement their snacks the kids are allowed unlimited access to fruits and cheese.

I showed the kids how much junk food they were receiving. I think it is a lot. I am hoping that this will control the ones who are sneaking and the ones who are stealing. I know that I have been attacked because I have said in the past that children are stealing food in the house. I have also been attacked for the fact that John and I (and even my mom) have our own little stashes of our favorite foods. The fact that we have our own stash does not and never meant that the kids didn't get their own junk foods. Yes, I consider it stealing when you go into someones space and take something that belongs to them, even if it is food. John has a thing for nuts, $10/can nuts. Someone is going into his office and eating them up. I have a stash of coins in my car (well I used to), one of the kids has taken them. From my understanding one child was bragging that they had enough change to buy chips at school. However, that child denies all even with three witnesses to the fact.

I personally don't think that the kids need all these snacks. The school has conditioned them to think that they do. In the summer the kids eat less snacks even though they are home. They will head out to the pool or we will go on a trip and we don't do breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. They are busy and typically about the time they come in saying they are hungry it is lunch time or dinner time (we eat early). I think that it is possible for the older kids to go 4 hours without a snack. I think that they are eating out of routine and not hunger. Not a good habit to develop.

Most nights I prepare a meal and we eat together when John gets home around 5:30. I can tell when some kids have had too much junk, they will barely eat the prepared food. Although Emma has improved greatly, given the opportunity she will turn down a home cooked meal for junk.

Anyone else struggle with the school snack schedule? Do your kids have snacks time up into middle school? Do you think that all the snacking is necessary?